3 Ways to Let go of Negative Emotions

As humans, we all make mistakes. We all say and do things that end up hurting those around us, and sometimes, those that are closest to us. Now when you are the one that gets burned, the big question as to whether or not you should forgive often remains unanswered because we tend to have issues seeing past the hurt.

One thing that I have come to learn lately is that holding onto anger or holding a grudge against people typically does more harm to you than it does to anybody else. When you feel betrayed, it can be easy to fall into the self pity trap. A lot of the time you’ll throw yourself a pity party, bash the person that hurt you, make passive aggressive jabs in the form of internet memes, etc. I have done this myself, and I see it all the time on Facebook from others as well. I think a big reason that we do this is to try to convince ourselves that we hate the person that hurt us, as though hating them will somehow take away the negative emotions surrounding that which caused you pain in the first place.

The hard truth is that doing those things doesn’t actually work to reduce the negative emotions that you are feeling, in fact, it can be doing the total opposite.  For this reason, I want to share with you what I have found to be truly beneficial in these types of situations.

Change your social media attitude.

Skip the self-pity, angry, and/or depressing posts on social media, and instead, find some positive, motivational, and inspiring things to post instead. Our lives are our creation. We get what we put into the world. If you are focusing on the negativity of your situation, you will actually end up attracting more bad into your life while repelling the good. Focus on putting positivity out into the universe, and you will start attracting the right people into your life. Not only that, but if you are consistently being positive (even if you don’t necessarily feel happy at the time you make the post), over time this will actually initiate a mental shift and you will genuinely become more and more happy over time. From a psychological perspective, this is what is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Exercise regularly and focus on a clean diet. 

Seriously. Just do it! I can tell you with 100% honesty that exercise helps as a mood enhancer. I know this from experience. I have been on and off with fitness for three years now, and in that time I have fallen off the wagon several times. During those periods, I would be inactive with my workouts and I would struggle with my nutrition. Every time that happened, I would start to feel what I call “brain fog” coming back and I would revert back to being depressed. This is just a state of mind where I am always a little tired and groggy no matter how much sleep I get, and I start to be less cheery and happy overall.

Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly tend to be happier than those who are inactive, and even that activity can help to not only treat depression, but also to prevent relapse. Until you have experienced this firsthand, you probably won’t believe me. When I am angry or upset sometimes I will do Combat, which is a martial arts based fitness program. After half an hour to an hour of that, I feel so much better! It doesn’t have to be Combat either. Maybe you prefer dancing, or maybe you hate cardio and would prefer to take up something calming like yoga. Whatever the case may be, exercise can help you to clear your head, regain confidence when it has been shaken, and just feel happy and healthy again.

Surround yourself with friends.

Sometimes life gets in the way of our friendships and we let too much time pass between visits, or even talks. One thing that I have learned is that though you can be strong and independent, sometimes you just need to have a group of friends in your life to hang out with from time to time and take your mind off everything else. It is important to nurture those relationships, and to make an effort to keep those people in your life.

These days it is far too easy to lose touch with people, so you may find yourself in a position where you don’t feel like you have any friends. Trust me, I’ve been there! In those cases, what I challenge you to do is to go through your friends list on Facebook and make a list of people that you used to be good friends with. Next, I want you to reach out to those you wish were still in your life, and simply invite them out to do something. This takes strength, because it is most likely going to be way out of your comfort zone. If you can do it though, it may help to totally turn your life around.

These are the three biggest shifts that I have made in my life after a rough patch, and since making them, I have been much happier. In life we are bound to get hurt by people that will not see the fault in their actions, that will never apologize for hurting you, and who will do everything in their power to shift the blame from them over to you. The best thing that you can do when this happens is learn to forgive them. Not because they need forgiveness, but because you deserve to be free.

Let go of that which you cannot control, and instead focus on doing that which makes you happy. For me, that just happens to be spending time with friends, traveling, and working out. If you can determine the activities that make you the happiest, focus on those and then the rest will just fall into place.

Call to action!

If you’ve been throwing a pity party as described above, I dare you to try these three steps for 2 weeks and come and tell me how you feel when the 2 weeks are over. I am willing to bet that you will find yourself to be in a much better place mentally and emotionally after a few weeks of consistency with these positive shifts. You’re not going to forget about what hurt you, but you will eventually be able to forgive and let go. I am serious about the telling me how you feel part too! I want to hear about your experience with this challenge, so feel free to message me privately using the contact me form and let me know how you made out.

Thanks for reading, and I truly hope that this helps!

xoxo

Jess

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My Naked Truth

Yesterday I entered a new chapter in my life. Yesterday was the day that I devoted myself fully to my goals, and turned ideas into action steps to help me achieve those goals. One of these action steps came in the form of The Naked Leader, a coaching program with Janelle Fraser. One of the very first things that I learned, and something that is said to be the foundation for all leaders, is that you have to be 100% unapologetically yourself.

“Being a naked leader is defined as someone who purposefully chooses to lead and share a message wilst showing up fully as their true self.”  – Janelle Fraser

This concept essentially refers to being open, honest, and vulnerable with your followers. Nobody is perfect, but when you’re running a business, you often feel like you have to portray perfection all of the time to be successful. The concept of the Naked Leader totally challenges that habit to hide the messier side of your life. Instead, it encourages you to OWN the things from your past, present, and future that maybe are not as “polished” as you would like them to be. In honor of this challenge, I wanted to reveal the naked truth that is who I am, and how I got here.

This is most likely about to be a long one, so turn back now unless you want to be in it for the long haul!  

Note that any names used will be changed..

We all struggle a bit through adolescence. That goofy, awkward, roller-coaster of emotions time of your life where you are learning and growing as a human being. I had a pretty normal childhood full of ups and downs, and lessons learned. It was at the age of 15 when my life kind of got spun around 360 degrees and flipped upside down.

Age 14 was a tough year for me, because the boyfriend that I was madly in love with “allegedly” cheated on me with another girl. You tend to feel those emotions so powerfully when you are young, so it crushed me. We spent the summer broken up, but things picked back up when we got back to school the following September. That was when I started to change. Prior to that incident, I was pretty much a goody-two-shoes. I didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or even swear. When I allowed myself to go back to my ex, I started changing all of those things about myself gradually to make the Love-quotes-Dont-change-to-make-someonerelationship work. (If you are doing this – STOP NOW while you have the chance… No relationship worth having should EVER require you replacing good qualities and habits about yourself with bad ones) I wish someone had shared that advice with me because I started drinking, I smoked marijuana, I skipped class, the whole nine yards. It was not a healthy relationship, and the feelings that I felt for him certainly were not reciprocated in the same manner. Instead of being uplifted, I was constantly torn down and made to feel broken and worthless. He never physically laid a hand on me, but sometimes chronic manipulation, lying, and emotional abuse can be just as rough on a person. Eventually the school year ended, and he walked out of my life. The result was a risk-taking, newly single 15 year old ready to finally let loose and have some fun during the summer.

My dad has been a paramedic since I was a little girl, and I remember growing up he would always tell me stories about his work. Specifically stories about the reserve, no doubt trying to warn me of the dangers he had seen and keep me away from it all. As a father, he tried to warn me about drinking and partying in general. I had always heeded his warnings, until that summer. My best friend at the time had moved into a home on the reserve with her father and his girlfriend, and she had told me about a party her friends were having. We plotted a way for me and my step-sister to be able to go to the party without raising suspicion among our parents. My sister’s mom was told she was staying the night at my house, while my mom was told that we were both staying the night at Ashley’s house. Of course both of our mothers were told that her parents would be around for supervision. It was a pretty classic scenario, so I am sure that you have already guessed by this point that there were no parents present that weekend. Our plan worked perfectly, and we went off to Ashley’s house to get ready for the party. The first several hours were actually really fun, and I started to think that my dad had been wrong. Everyone had been really nice and accepting, for the most part.

My sister ended up drinking a little too much that night, to a point where she actually made me chase her out into a field when it came time to get her to go back to the house and call it a night. Whenever a friend gets too drunk, I think it is almost a natural instinct for us to cut back and take care of them instead of getting inebriated ourselves. That is what I chose to do that night. When I finally rounded her up, I found Ashley and her cousin and prepared to go back to the house. Ashley had a crush on one of the guys from the party, so she brought him and his friend back to the house to continue hanging out. Everything was fine at first, but once people started going to bed, everything changed. My sister had passed out on the bed, I was on the bed beside her, and the friend of Ashley’s date was beside me. When the other three left the room, it was just him and I left awake. He was drunk, so naturally when left alone with a girl, he made his move. At first I didn’t mind, we fooled around around for a bit because it felt nice to be kissed again. It didn’t take long for that to change though, and the requests for more started. It basically began by being told to take off my pants, and I kept insisting that I wouldn’t. I said my sister was right beside us and would wake up as an excuse. He tried to get me to go in another room, but I refused to do that too. Eventually it got more insistent, and he said if I didn’t take my pants off, he would. I continued to refuse, because I had no intentions of sleeping with anyone that night. He followed through with his statement though, and as it started, I laid on the bed motionless, crying, mumbling “no” over and over again, and just waited until it was over. When he was finished, he pretty much just got up from the bed, got dressed, and left the room without saying a word.

I know exactly what you’re probably thinking, because it was a running inner monologue of mine for a long time. Why didn’t you fight him off? Why didn’t you scream for help? Why didn’t you make more of an effort to stop this from happening? My honest to god answer is this – I don’t know. I had so many things running through my head that night. The biggest thought process of all was my father’s stories about the reserve, what he had seen, what the men can be like, the abuse, the murders and assaults, and more.  I’ve grown up now, and I recognize fully that they are not all like that, but at the time I just kept thinking about those stories and how I1 didn’t want to be one of the girls picked up in an ambulance beaten to a bloody pulp. I was afraid of what might happen if I did resist and fight. I didn’t think this guy was abusive, but then again, I was 15 and I had literally just met him that night. I wasn’t exactly in a good position to make that kind of judgment call. I had my sister to think about too, who was lying beside us totally dead to the world from drinking too much, and I didn’t want her to get hurt too. So I made a choice. I made a choice to just stay still and wait. Maybe everything would have been fine had I made more of an effort, or maybe I would have been driven to the hospital in an ambulance and not my mother’s car. That is something that I will never know.

I told my sister about what happened the next day, and we went back to my house. I struggled with the decision as to whether or not I should tell anyone. I really didn’t want to tell anyone else because I felt responsible for what happened to me. I didn’t feel like I could call it rape, because I had been fooling around with him first. I felt like I had brought it on myself, and that it was my fault for getting his hopes up in that way and expecting him not to follow through. By some stroke of what I thought at the time to be sheer luck, my uncle stopped by the house while my mom was out. I thought, “if I just tell him what happened, I can ask him to keep my secret.” It was pretty freakin’ naive, but at the time I was desperate, and he was my only hope to get the morning after pill. I was terrified to death of pregnancy and STD’s. As soon as my mom came home, my uncle left the house and met her on the walkway. The look on her face as she walked through the door with tears running down her cheeks still breaks my heart today.

What came next was a visit to the hospital, where my mom told my dad, and my dad told my grandparents, and I ended up in a hospital room with most of my immediate family. It was awkward, uncomfortable, and humiliating. I hated every second of it. I had a hard time filing the report with the police because I had to admit to my family that I had been fooling around with him first. I blamed myself, so I expected them to do the same. They didn’t. Next I was poked and prodded by the nurses as they performed a rape kit, extracted about 10 vials of blood for testing, and shot a massive needle into my butt that hurt like hell and burned so badly that it made me scream loud enough that my family could hear me in the hallway. The whole experience was just painful in more ways than one for my entire family. Beyond that, I was given a huge bag full of medications that I needed to take to help reduce my risk for contracting HIV. Testing had to be done in another 6 months to be fully sure, so I had to ensure several months of the unknown and worrying as well.

When I went back home, everything seemed different. My parents were on edge and understandably overprotective, so it made it difficult for me to interact with my friends. It really didn’t help matters that my closest friends at the time were male, and my parents viewed all guys in my life as the devil. Ashley was no longer my friend because my mom had told her parents about what had happened, and it had gotten her into trouble. Along 14424672with her and her entire family, a lot of people thought that I had made the whole thing up. They thought that my behavior was not that of a person who had just been raped, because if I had really been through that, I wouldn’t be comfortable hanging out with my guy friends. I knew them and trusted I them, so I was not scared of them. They knew about what happened, and they supported me through it when my girl friends laid blame, labelled me as a lying slut, and abandoned me. Ashley and I made up years later, and she understood after I explained all that I had been subjected to after that night. It is not something that a girl takes lightly. I encourage you to think about that next time you wonder whether or not to believe a rape report.

A week after the party, we heard noise coming from our back yard. A friend of my mothers was here, so we sent him out to check it out. It was a group of natives, and they were vandalizing a vehicle in our back yard. In all of the time that we had lived in this house prior to that summer, and all the time spent in that home after that single incident, we have lived there without anything like that happening again. I will never know for sure, but at the time, I took it as a threat and a warning. It scared me to death. I decided not to pursue charges partly out of fear, but also because I still believed that I was to blame. Regardless, I couldn’t stand the thought of going back to school and having to face him, all of the other natives, and his many friends who would most likely believe him over me. I thought for sure that I would end up getting beaten up at school, and I refused to go back. My mom sent a letter to the other high school in our little town, and luckily they accepted me as a transfer student against their regulations due to the circumstances.

The very first week at my new school, I made friends with the kind of kids that parents don’t approve of… for obvious reasons. The kind that do drugs, skip school, and party. I remember the very first night that I met them, and it was at our local carnival that takes place at the end of every summer vacation. I had been offered drugs that afternoon and had turned it down, but I later saw a group of people associated with the guy who had sexually assaulted me earlier that summer. I panicked, and I started to lose my mind a little bit. I sent my sister to investigate and verify that he wasn’t there, and I ended up agreeing to take my very first ecstasy pill to calm my nerves and try to have a good night. From that point forward I spent about 6 months of grade 11 high on weed or ecstasy, drunk, or a combination of both. It made me feel better, or at least I thought it did for a while. All it really did was make me forget, and give me a false sense of happiness for several hours until the crash. My solution to that was to just do it again the next day to keep it going. At one point down the line, I was offered some acid. I accepted, and ended up taking 4 hits of acid in one night. I am pretty sure my eyes remained open and unblinking for over 10 hours by the pain I felt the following day. I absolutely loved being on acid, even more than I enjoyed ecstasy, so I knew that I could never touch it again or I would become hooked to that too. It wasn’t too long after that night that the nightmares began. I had not had a bad trip while on acid, but apparently that doesn’t matter. Acid can leave its mark on you long after the initial dose. For about a month straight, I had to sleep with the light on because I would wake up petrified from the nightmares of what seemed to be of a bad acid trip. I would be hanging upside down from the ceiling unable to move. I would be seemingly glued to place on the bed as ghost-like forms lunged at my face. Basically all of the crazy stuff that a young person fears during the night when the lights are off is exactly what would appear in my head while I slept. It was extremely vivid.

This is another turning point in my life. I started to really think about where I was and what I was doing to myself. I started wondering, what if this is God sending me a message and telling me that I need to stop doing drugs. Please note that I do not identify myself with any particular religion, so I am not trying to preach to you about God. Regardless of my beliefs or non-beliefs, I thought of these nightmares as being a bad omen. I decided that the drugs needed to come to a stop.

Unfortunately for me, I did not decide to stop drinking, and I continued to hang out with the same crowd of people. One night I was at a party drinking, and I had consumed a large cooler (basically a cooler the size of a wine bottle) and 1 mixed drink with rum. By this point, I had obviously become accustomed to drinking alcohol, and I had built up quite a tolerance for the stuff. Those coolers were basically juice for me, and for someone who typically just did shots and drank hard stuff from the bottle, 1 mixed drink didn’t do much damage either. I remember sitting on the couch having a conversation with my cousins boyfriend, feeling fine and having a great time. I finished up that drink, and he offered to get me another. He came back with my drink and we continued to talk as I drank it. I don’t really know if I ever finished that drink, because everything from that point on is pretty hazy despite it being so early in the evening. I remember him helping me to the bathroom, and holding my hair as I threw up. I vaguely remember him helping me to a bed in a bedroom, and then offering to get me water. Everything beyond him leaving the room is a mystery.

I was woken up really early in the morning by my friend saying that I needed to go home because I was in his bed. I groggily got up, got my things, and went out to the cab. I turned on my laptop when I got home to check Facebook, and I had a large amount of messages from my cousin. She was livid, and was accusing me of having slept with her boyfriend. I had no idea what she was talking about, but she said people from the party had told her. I sent a message to the friends of mine that had hosted the party and I asked him what had happened. He told me that it was true, and that the guy had been bragging about it. My cousin said one of the girls at the party told her I bragged about it too (but the source was a girl that didn’t like me to begin with, so I don’t know for sure if I did get up from the bed at some point through the night to talk to people or not). When I went to get undressed to put my pajamas on and go back to sleep, I found a large amount of dark blood on my underwear. I didn’t think that it was the right time for my period, and when I 11174887_10153782931693508_8908561499487718016_nfelt the soreness the next morning, I had to face facts. At that point, I knew it was true. This time I didn’t tell anyone, I just went to the clinic on my university campus to have tests run. The bleeding continued, and I was told that the guy that night must have been very rough because it had caused damage internally that was made evident from the discoloration of the blood. I blamed myself again, because I was the one that had made the choices that had ultimately led me to that moment. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it is very likely that I was drugged. I knew from the start that something about that night just didn’t make sense, but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it until I learned in one of my psychology classes about the date rape drugs and their effects. Much like the last time that this kind of thing had happened, I still considered myself to be at fault, so this time I kept the whole thing to myself. I didn’t report it to the police or tell my family. I hadn’t gotten pregnant or contracted any STD’s, so I just dealt with the bleeding on my own and tried my best to act like it hadn’t happened.

It is kind of ironic actually. When I was assaulted the first time, it led me to the darkness. This time, it brought me out into the light, because it gave me the strength that I needed to finally put an end to my destructive behavior. I quit drinking cold-turkey, and I cut ties with most of my “friends”. I use quotation marks because for the most part, once I quit drinking and partying, they really didn’t seem to care about me or want to spend time with me anyway. I started focusing on my school work, and I turned the second half of grade 11 around to a point where I was getting mostly 80’s and 90’s. I was isolated though, and very damaged, so the depression sunk in. I started to supplement my feelings with food, and I would eat junk food constantly in an attempt to make myself feel better. I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food, and the result was rapid weight gain, which ultimately led to more depression, and more junk food consumption, and the cycle continued on and on and on. I pretty much spent that second half of grade 11, and my entire graduation year, isolated and alone.

I did very well in school that last year, and I did it without touching a drop of alcohol. I decided that I wanted to go to law school to become a prosecutor so that I could make a difference by putting away the bad guys. Since I spent my weekends alone, I developed an obsession with Criminal Minds reruns that played pretty much non-stop each weekend along with CSI. I bought the entire collection on Ebay, and binge watched the entire series. I decided that I wanted to become the Canadian version of a profiler, which, much to my surprise, actually does exist within the RCMP under the title “Criminal Investigative Analyst”. I spent grade 12 working towards getting into the school that I had chosen, and I did get in. From that point forward, I was focused entirely on getting what I wanted. I knocked all basic requirements out first year, and the next year was split equally between Criminology and Psychology. Third year was spent fulfilling requirements for the honours program and additional Criminology and Psychology requirements, and fourth year was spent finalizing all requirements needed for my double major and honours in Criminology. In the end, I made it out alive and graduated with honours in distinction. My studies in these subjects taught me a lot about myself, my circumstances, and society. Unfortunately, the world we live in appears to have made victim-blaming so commonplace that most women and girls victhat are victimized automatically begin the line of thinking that they must have done something to deserve it. Maybe they think their outfit was too revealing, or like me their earlier actions suggested consent. What I have learned is that it was NOT my fault. It was NOT okay for someone to continue once the word “no” had been uttered even once, let alone numerous times. It was NOT okay for someone to have rough sex with a person that had thrown up and then needed to be put into bed with a glass of water. It was NOT okay for people to put the blame on me. It was NOT okay for those guys to take what they wanted from me and leave me to pick up the pieces of my broken life. Most importantly, I learned that I would be okay. I always wanted to someday tell this story to the world in an attempt to hopefully help others going through similar circumstances to learn these important facts for themselves, and I just now mustered the courage.

Toward the end of my third year of my degree I made a life-changing decision. I decided that I was going to take my life back, and that I was not going to allow my life to be dictated by my past. I decided that I refused to spend my grad year of university the way that I had spent my grad year of high school. I was miserable, alone, and just totally defeated back then. I set to work immediately after school ended that third year, and I began P90X. This Beachbody program helped me change my habits. I worked out 6 days a week for 6 full months with that program, and I ate clean through the duration of that period as well. When I finished that, I tried Turbo Fire, then Les Mills PUMP, and so on. By the time that I got back into school for my grad year, I was feeling so much better about myself as a person. I was happier, I was getting my confidence back, and I was pushing myself to talk to people and make friends. I did go out to grad events that year, and I had fun and made memories this time. All of this helped me come to the realization that my desire to be a prosecutor or in the RCMP really wasn’t about the job itself. It was about getting revenge on the people that had hurt me by putting away other bad guys in their place. To take those kinds of positions would have been focusing on a life of negativity. I would have been constantly surrounded by terrible acts of abuse, and I would have to live with that burden on top of that which I already bear. When I came to this realization, I decided that I was better off choosing a different path.

I decided to skip grad school. I became a Beachbody Coach to help motivate and encourage others to achieve results like I had. I later joined Younique because I fell in love with their makeup. I’ve since been on a backpacking trip where I explored Barcelona, Paris, and London. I’ve been to Chicago, Vegas, and California, and I have trips planned to Nashville and St. Louis next summer. I have had so much positivity come into my life since making the decision to let go of my past, and I just have to keep reminding myself of this every time that I slide backwards.

Now you may be curious about the whole cold-turkey alcohol situation. I quit halfway through grade 11, and I did not touch alcohol until a few months into my first year of university. The impact that it has had on my behavior is huge though. I am very conscious of what I am drinking and how much I am drinking while I am out. If I am out with people I am not 100% sure I can trust, I make sure to stay sober enough to handle myself should a tough situation come about (it helps now that I have Les Mills COMBAT under my belt lol). I NEVER allow anyone but a bartender or daterapesignificant other to provide me with a drink while out. I tend to just totally ignore all men while at a bar, unless I went there with them or I know them already. I stick to the buddy system and always go out drinking with a friend, or don’t go at all. I am sure there are more weird little quirks, but ladies, regardless of whether or not you’ve been assaulted, you should all be doing these things to protect yourself. We shouldn’t have to – but this is the world that we live in, so we need to take precautions while we work and fight for change.

The impact that this has had on my relationships has been pretty powerful as well. Men tend to not be a fan of my perspective, so I guess in a way it is a good thing, because it weeds out the unworthy. I will not sleep with people until we are in a committed relationship, or have at least been dating for a while. The point is this: I’ve gotten to know them, I have come to trust them, and I can see the potential for a future with them. I once had a guy respond to this rule with “you don’t buy a car without test driving it first”, but in my case, yes you do. Needless to say, this guy is no longer a part of my world. Our happiness is not defined by having a man in our life. I have come to learn that if they can’t handle me needing time and space to get to know them and trust them before getting intimate in that way, then they don’t deserve to be in my life in the first place. I would rather be single, working on my own personal development, growing my businesses, and creating a life of happiness for myself than be in an unhealthy relationship that is going nowhere.

I am human. I am flawed. I am far from perfect. I have made terrible decisions that have had very bad consequences, and I know that I will make more bad choices throughout my lifetime. I can’t say that I regret any of the choices that I have made in my past, because it has led me to who I am in the present. Who I am is a good person that has had a few hurdles thrown in her path. I am also a person that deserves to be happy, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to create that for myself, no matter how many hurdles I have to knock over to get there.  No more hiding. No more keeping secrets. It is time to lay it all out there so that I can finally move past this and get started on my future.

If you are struggling with being a victim of sexual assault, I strongly encourage you to talk to someone. Anyone. You NEED to get this off your chest. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone in your life, please write to me. Use the contact page here on my blog, and reach out to me. I promise that I will talk to you, and do my best to help you through this. If you are struggling with a drug problem, regardless of the type, and regardless of how far along you are, I encourage you to STOP if you can. If you are too far along and you physically can’t do it yourself, I encourage you to do the same. Reach out to someone for help, even if that someone is me. If you are struggling with depression due to body issues or anything else, I encourage you to get help as well. Again, reach out to me if necessary. You can’t do this on your own. I had a lot of help along the way from my loving and supportive family, and I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without them in my life. You need someone to be in your corner, and if you don’t have anyone else, please let me be in your corner to help you get through this.

One of the reasons why I am SO passionate about Younique is because of what they stand for and what they support. Our mission statement is to Uplift. Empower. Validate. I just love that. Our goal is to be women supporting other women, making them feel amazing and beautiful, and 15 - 1most of all, making them feel like they are worth it. YOU are worth it. Younique has created a foundation to support survivors of sexual abuse, and it is a very powerful and empowering initiative that just fills my heart with that much more love for this company. As I mentioned before, I had the privilege of attending the 2015 Younique Convention in Chicago, IL. Prior to our convention, Younique challenged everyone to submit a video lip syncing to the super-powerful Fight Song by Rachel Platten. A select few of these videos were clipped and made into a video that was shown at convention. On top of everything else, this was beautiful and it certainly brought tears to my eyes. Check it out:

 You are not alone, and you will get through this.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading. If my story helps even just one person, it will be worth it. Please know that this is not a cry for attention, nor is it an attempt to point fingers at the two men. All of this is behind me now, and I simply want anyone else struggling with these issues to see that you CAN turn things around.

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xoxo

Jess

“I already have a job, I don’t need a part time business”

The title of this post is something that I hear a lot when talking to people about the opportunities that I present. Until now, I have just let that go and bitten my tongue. However, I recently listened to a podcast by Chalene Johnson, and it inspired me to write this post. For those of you that don’t know Chalene, she is actually my favorite trainer for Beachbody fitness programs, and you can find her in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most home fitness workouts. In addition to being a great health and fitness trainer, Chalene also hosts podcast and helps women all over the world to build their businesses and regain their confidence. She does this through her “Build your tribe” podcast, and her Courageous Confidence Club program.

One of her podcasts had Chalene talking about part time businesses, and how she and her husband actually encouraged their employees to have part time businesses on the side. Why? Because steady jobs are not always as steady as they seem. Companies crumble and go bankrupt, sometimes unexpectedly due to unforeseen circumstances. They may suffer a hit and be forced to do some layoffs. You hear of cases from time to time where employees get screwed out of their retirement money for one reason or another. In addition, things change in life! Maybe you decide that you want to start a family, but your full time income doesn’t provide you with enough money to comfortably support and raise a child. Maybe you do have a child, and you decide that you want to quit your job and become a stay at home parent. Whatever the case may be, steady jobs may not be as steady and secure as you think they are.

So why should you have a part time business on the side if you don’t have much time to spend on it? Because that is the beauty of a business that is part time. You can chip away at a part time business bit by bit, and over time, your business will grow. Will it take time and effort? Absolutely – but it is something that can be done at your own pace.

“I’m working full time on my job, and I’m working part time on my fortune” – Jim Rohn

Think of it in the words of Jim Rohn. How would it feel to be able to live off of your full time income, but to have the security of knowing that you also have funds from your part time business tucked away for your fortune. Work full time to support your lifestyle, and allow the money from your part time business to accumulate over time. This could end up being your retirement savings. If you’re like me and you like to travel, this money could send you on trips around the world. If you have children, this money could put your kids through school. No matter what your priorities in life may be, most of us are not millionaires, and we could all benefit from having extra money coming in for added security.

If your next objection to having a part time business is that they are scams or pyramid schemes, then you should jump over to my post on Network Marketing to discover the truth. It is a common misconception that all network marketing businesses are pyramid schemes, and it is time that we set the record straight.

To learn more about the Beachbody opportunity, Click Here.

To learn more about the Younique opportunity, Click Here.

For all the ladies out there living in a man’s world.

Normally I like to avoid all drama and controversy, but I honestly feel as though this is something that needs to be said.

It has recently been brought to my attention that there have been things being said about me behind my back with respect to my appearance, and I know that I am not alone. This kind of thing happens every single day, to thousands of women around the world. It is honestly baffling to me that people can be so catty and cruel over something so trivial. Why do we care about the height of the shoes someone is wearing, or the fact that someone wears makeup in an office of people that typically don’t wear much makeup? Unfortunately, we live in a world where it isn’t easy to just be yourself and do what makes you happy – because someone will always be there to try and bring you down.

I’ve noticed that both women and men alike are guilty of this kind of negative behaviour, so it is not just any one gender. Agree or disagree, that is your prerogative. However, these are my thoughts:

Ladies; If a woman takes pride in her appearance, wears makeup, dresses well, wears heels, whatever the case may be; it by no means correlates to her being sexually promiscuous. Sure, some people that do those things probably would fall into that category. However, I know from personal experience that it is quite possible for someone to NOT be a “slut” and to still take pride in their appearance. In my case, I do it because I lost 60 pounds. I am confident again and I feel better about myself, so I like to demonstrate that in the way that I carry myself and the way that I dress. The moral of the story here is that until you take the time to get to know a person, you have no right to make snap judgments about them based solely on appearance. I know, it is cliche, but you should not judge a book by its cover. We, as women, need to STOP the judging and bringing each other down. There are enough men out there in the world that take care of that for us lol. Instead, we need to be raising each other up. We need to be a positive force in each others’ lives, and start being there for one another. Life is not a competition, nobody has to win or lose, so lose the edge and just LIVE.

Gentlemen; If a woman takes pride in her appearance, wears makeup, dresses well, wears heels, whatever the case may be; it does NOT mean that they are dressed that way to get your attention or approval, nor does it mean that you automatically have the go-ahead to push yourself onto her in any way. Honestly, I don’t go out to clubs very often, but when I do I usually find myself getting annoyed with at least one man who thinks that it is his god given right to lay a hand on me just because I am dressed nicely and at a club. It actually infuriates me to have a stranger come up from behind me and start grinding on me at a club. I just don’t understand the notion that it is okay to grind on a total stranger without at least introducing yourself and saying “Hey, do you want to dance?”. Six simple words – how hard is that? I’m sorry, but contrary to common belief, not every woman at a bar is there to find a man to sleep with. Some of us actually go just to dance, have a good time, and blow off some steam with some friends. Once again I revert back to the cliche, because you do not know the story behind every woman. My story involves a significant amount of weight loss. The other day I was talking to a guy, and somehow we got on the topic of appearance. I learned that he actually thought that the only reason women dress well or do their hair and makeup nicely was to please men! WRONG. Once again, obviously there will be exceptions to this and there will be women out there that do those things to please a man. However, in a lot of cases, we do it for ourselves.

For example, I didn’t lose a bunch of weight to please a man. I lost that weight because I was sick of living with depression and isolating myself from the world and everyone around me. I wanted to take my life back, regain my confidence, and start truly LIVING. I do not NEED a man, and as women, none of us do. We are strong, and we can get by without a man. In today’s society, I feel like more and more women are reverting back to old traditions and relying on men to take care of them; so much so that they are staying in dead end relationships. I am a firm believer in true love. I have zero interest in staying in a relationship with someone if I know that it is going nowhere, because it isn’t fair to you or the other person to keep pretending. Sometimes the hardest choice is actually the right choice, and though it isn’t easy to leave a bad relationship, sometimes it is exactly what you need to find yourself again.

I apologize for a bit of a rant, but I have been thinking a lot lately about these kinds of things and I felt as though I needed to get it off of my chest. I wish I knew where chivalry had gone, because I want it back! Drama and cattiness has been around for ages, and I doubt that will change anytime soon. However, if this message reaches even just one man or woman and helps him or her to change their behaviour in a more positive light – it has served its purpose.

Be kind to one another, because you never know what a person could be going through.

How to Stay Motivated!

I know how hard it can be to stay on track with a health and fitness journey, and I have fallen off the wagon many times myself. It is HARD. If it were easy, everyone would be doing. It isn’t impossible though, and you just have to decide that you’re going to do this so that you can create a better life for yourself and those around you. You DESERVE to be healthy, happy, and confident! I found this photo online, and I thought that it was a great little tip for anyone trying to keep themselves on track with a health and fitness journey. It is also a great place to start if you’re thinking about making these positive life changes, because it allows you to prepare in advance to engage in positive self-motivating behaviours.

The first point says to take it one day at a time, which is great advice with respect to your nutrition and workouts. Tracking is crucial. Each day, you should track what you did. For your nutrition, you should track everything that you put into your mouth. I personally like to create a template of what I’m going to eat the next day a night in advance. It is MUCH easier to rearrange things to hit your macro ratios when you do this in advance, because once you’ve already eaten something, you can’t take it off your journal. Tracking is made SUPER simple with myfitnesspal, which even has handy apps for smartphones and tablets. Click here to learn more about tracking and macro ratios. In addition to tracking food, it is important to track what you do with your workouts. Once you complete a workout and have the number of reps you did on each exercise and what weight you used, you will then know what to do the next time you do that workout. It also helps to show you when you should move up in weight, and allows you to track your progress over time. Click here to learn about my tracking challenge.

Surrounding yourself with positivity is a big one. It is important that you spend time with people who lift you up instead of bring you down. Try to surround yourself with positive people who support your positive life choices. If you hang out with people that constantly bring you down, it is going to hamper your progress. Sometimes people close to you can even be unsupportive of your new shift to a healthier lifestyle and try to bring you down to their level. In many cases, they aren’t doing this to hurt you, but they see themselves reflected in your positive choices and don’t like what they see. They’ll realize that they should be making these changes too, but they don’t want to, so their subconscious tries to sabotage you and get things back to normal. This can be especially hard if it happens to be a spouse, living partner, or loved one. Click here to read more on this topic and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.

One thing that you can do to help keep you focused is create a vision board. I actually put out a challenge to my health and fitness group a while back where I asked them to do this, so I won’t get into too much detail on this subject here. Essentially what this means is that you think in depth about where you are currently, and where you would like to end up. Then you create a board of all of the things you want to do when you achieve your goals, what you will look like when you achieve your goals, what is important to you and your family, things like that. If you’d like to take on this challenge, click here to read about it.

SMART with respect to goal setting is actually an acronym. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. I won’t get into too much detail here, because I actually have a blog post dedicated to this topic already. Click here if you would like to learn more about SMART and how it applies to your health and fitness goals.

One thing that helps many people stay on track is to reward themselves for achieving their goals. Some people find it helpful to reward themselves with a cheat meal at the end of each successful month. A healthier way to do this is to treat yourself to a new outfit. You could even just keep a jar in your workout area where you deposit a dollar for each workout that you do, and then when you hit your goal you can spend that money on something important to you. Maybe a spa day, who knows, that’s totally up to you! Be proud of all the small steps toward your larger goal, and allow yourself to be excited over those smaller successes.

Having belief in yourself is HUGE. It is really important that you believe that you can do it, because if you allow yourself to start thinking that you can’t do it, your thoughts will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and you will quit before you achieve your goals. If you’re struggling with something, tell yourself in your head that you can do it, even if you aren’t sure. Positive mental talk repeated over time will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals. Even if you can’t do something right away, there are all kinds of ways to modify moves. You just have to do what you can until you gain strength to do more.

Continuing from the last point, it is also super important that you don’t focus in on what you can’t do or the things you don’t like about yourself. Instead, focus on everything that you can do, the progress you’ve made, and the things that you do like about yourself. If you focus on the negative, you’ll never get anywhere. In order to be successful on your health and fitness journey, you have got to make an effort to shift into a more positive mental mindset. If you’re working out regularly and you’ve seeing results, this should happen naturally if you follow the advice in this article.

With this next point, the tracking I discussed above will really come in handy when it comes time to recognize your progress. It really helps to have a record of where you started versus where you are now, and seeing that progress firsthand can be really motivating. This can be in the form of a food journal, exercise charts showing progress over time with reps and weight increases, progress pictures, weight, measurements, etc. Any and all of these things will help you to recognize the progress that you’ve made along your health and fitness journey, and you should focus on that success. It doesn’t matter if you are still a long way off from your larger goal, and you shouldn’t let that discourage you from continuing. As I said before, focus on the positive!

One thing that helps a lot of people when it comes to staying motivated is to visualize themselves achieving their goals. So in this instance, you would sit down and relax while thinking about what you’ll look like when you achieve your goal. Think about what you will do when you achieve your goal and how it will impact your life and the lives of those closest to you. It may help for you to refer back to your vision board for ideas before you do this, and you can even update your vision board over time as you think of new ideas.

Another really important factor to staying motivated is to be kind to yourself. This may sound silly, but it really is crucial. If you are always down on yourself, pointing out all of your flaws, mentally criticizing yourself, et cetera you should focus on shifting to a more positive mental mindset. If you’re unable to do that on your own, you should find someone that you trust to talk to, or consider seeking professional help. If you are suffering from depression, you may find that cardio helps. I have never personally been diagnosed as clinically depressed, but I was going through a really tough time in the years leading up to making the shift to a healthier lifestyle. I was engaging in a lot of self-bashing, and I criticized my every flaw in the mirror. This behaviour wasn’t healthy. When I started doing Turbo Fire, a high intensity interval training program that focuses on cardio, I found a significant improvement in my mental mindset. I’m by no means a doctor or an expert, so I cannot say that this will work for everyone. However, based on my own experience, I think it is a great place to start.

Lastly, DO NOT compare yourself to others. Especially those who have been exercising and eating clean for a long period of time. I struggle with this a bit myself sometimes because I have a lot of friends that do fitness competitions. You have to remember that those people worked hard for a long time to get to where they are, while you may be somewhere in the beginning stages of your journey. Everyone is different, and we all go through different things. The weight loss process is not the same from everybody, and comparing yourself to someone else is only going to hurt you in the long run.

I hope you found this article on how to stay motivated to be helpful, but if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way! If you have been considering making some positive changes with respect to health and fitness and you just aren’t sure where to start, you are invited to join my FREE Health and Fitness group.

Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals

There are five factors to smart goal setting that will make you much more likely to achieve success with your goals. The word SMART is actually an acronym, and it stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic, and timely.

First of all, your goals should be specific. Anyone can say “I want to lose weight”, but not follow through. If you say “I want to lose 30 pounds in the next 3 months by eating clean and workout out at least 5 days a week” you have a MUCH better chance of achieving your goal. To get specific, you should refer to your vision board and think about where you are versus where you want to be. You should start thinking about how you’re going to achieve your goal and come up with a specific plan to follow, and then think about the five w’s (where, what, when, why, and who – as in with whom will you be working with on this journey) It helps to have someone do this with you, so I highly recommend finding a partner.

Next your goals should be measurable. This means keeping track of things. I discussed above tracking nutrition and exercise, but you should also keep track of weight and measurements. Do your weight and measurements in the morning after you’ve been to the bathroom and before you’ve eaten food. This is the best time to get an accurate answer, while if you wait until later in the day your food and water intake may have bloated you out a bit and added a bit of extra weight to the scale that shouldn’t be there. Also keep track of your clothing size, because it will feel great to know where you started and where you ended up. Lastly, and arguably most importantly, TAKE PICTURES!! Weight and measurements can sometimes be super discouraging because your progress doesn’t always reflect in the numbers. This can happen as you put on muscle, which is denser than fat. This causes your body to shrink while your weight may seem to stay the same or only lower slightly. Pictures are my favorite way of tracking progress.

Sometimes people aim a bit too high, and that is why it is important that your goals are attainable. Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, spent a couple of weeks working out almost every day and following through on your nutrition, and then phased out? A lot of people have, myself included. Where did we go wrong? We expected to see awesome results in a very short amount of time doing something that is not necessarily sustainable. Going from no exercise and diet to exercise daily and all diet is a huge transition. When you embark on a health and fitness journey, you need to realize that the weight wasn’t put on overnight, and it certainly is not going to come off overnight. It will take time and effort to achieve your goals, so you need to pick a workout plan and a nutrition plan that is going to be sustainable over time.

Next is to ensure that your goal is relevant/realistic, and this is where you really need to evaluate your goal to find out if this is something that is really important to you. If you determine that it is, you need to think about the reason behind it – because that will come in handy later if you start to feel yourself slipping and losing motivation. You need to figure out the root of the reason you want this if you’re going to stick with it, otherwise you won’t mentally associate it as being a priority. Once you realize that this is important to you and you figure out the primary reason that is driving you to do this in the first place, your next step is to assess that specific goal plan that you created to determine if it can help get you to where you want to be with respect to health and fitness. Your goal also has to be realistic. You can’t set a goal to lose 100 pounds in one month, because that would be setting yourself up for failure. Choose a goal that is realistic and attainable, and it will give you motivation to keep pushing. Too many people set goals they can’t achieve, and then they give up because they get frustrated. You can avoid that from the beginning simply by setting realistic goals.

Lastly, your goal should be timely. Deadlines are great for getting people to move their butts into action, and you should definitely use that to your advantage. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds in 3 months, you can break that up into smaller increments and set a goal to lose 10 pounds each month. You could even break it up further and set a goal to lose 5 pounds every 2 weeks. This helps you to focus on small goals little by little. Each time you hit one of your smaller goals, you’ll be excited to be inching closer to your larger goal, and it will give you motivation to keep moving forward.

I hope you found this article on goal setting to be useful, but if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way! If you have been considering making some positive changes with respect to health and fitness and you just aren’t sure where to start, you are invited to join my FREE Health and Fitness group.

Do your relationships hamper your progress?

Don’t let other people tear you down. There are going to be people out there that are going to try to discourage you from making positive life changes and/or tell you that you can’t do it. This may even come from someone close to you, like a friend or family member. This hurts, but you can’t let them beat you down to their level.

If you’ve watched Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell over the years like I have, you’ll have learned that sometimes the people closest to us will try to prevent us from being successful on our journey simply because they aren’t ready to make those changes themselves. Sometimes they do it without even realizing it, and though they would never intentionally do something to hurt you, their subconscious wins the battle and they say or do things that can set you back.

Making the shift from junk food to healthy food and from inactivity to activity on a regular basis is not easy. It takes hard work and dedication. This process is made much more difficult if you don’t have a support system to lean on. For example, if you live with a spouse or significant other that doesn’t want to make healthier choices, or if your friends constantly invite you out to places where you’ll be tempted to eat poorly.

What I would recommend that you do moving forward is to start analyzing the people in your life. Think about the people that mean the most to you, and the people you spend the most time with. Once you’ve figured that out, you should then have an open and honest conversation with each of those people. Say, “listen, I have decided to start eating better and working out because it is very important to me that I get healthy and/or lose weight. As my family member/friend, I was really hoping that you would support me on this journey.”

If they are the type of person that says or does things that bring you down and work against your health and fitness goals, you can add something like “You are very important to me, and I don’t want to damage our relationship. However, I feel like you sometimes say and/or do things that make it more difficult for me to stick with my positive life choices. I would love for you to join me on this journey, but if you aren’t ready, I at least need that discouraging behaviour to stop. Otherwise I might have to take some time away from you for a while until these new life choices have had the chance to become habits”

This isn’t always an easy conversation to have, but it is important if you want to be successful. If you’re open and honest with them about what you want and how you are feeling, they will likely be open and honest with you in return. It may be just the push they need to agree to these changes themselves, and it could really strengthen your relationship. However, if they refuse to join you and they continue the negative behaviour, you really should consider taking some time away from that person to work on yourself. You need to surround yourself with positive people that support you and your health and fitness goals, otherwise your chances of being successful tend to dwindle.

As for household relationships, like children and/or spouses, think about who does the grocery shopping. Is it you? If so, just gradually start reducing the amount of junk food you have in the house! Your family might not like it at first, but if you replace the junk foods that they enjoy with some healthier options, they will get used to it over time.

You need to be a positive role model for your friends and family. SHOW them that it is possible to make these life choices and what kind of results can come from making those choices. Invite them to join you on your workouts. Talk to them about how you are feeling now that you have started this awesome journey, and make them want to join in.

If you have children, this is more important than ever, because children will model after you when it comes to food choice in most cases. If you constantly eat junk food and allow them to eat junk food, they are going to learn that junk food is good. If you don’t eat junk food regularly and you don’t keep junk food in the house or allow your kids to eat it regularly, they will learn that junk food is not good for you and that they can only have it as a treat once in a while. The problem is that many people are eating junk food ALL DAY every day. For example kids get sent to school with chips, cookies, fruit roll ups, lunchables, gummies, etc. Instead, send your kids to school with healthier snacks like fruit and veggies.

If you teach your children healthy habits early in their lives, they are less likely to become overweight or obese going into adulthood. I wish that I had been forced to learn healthy habits when I was a child, because I could have avoided all of the years that I spent depressed and in self-imposed isolation because of my weight.

Send me an email to hfmxj@stu.ca with the subject line “I’m ready to transform” if you would like to make me your free Beachbody Coach. I look forward to speaking with you, and I can’t wait to watch your mind and body transform over the course of your health and fitness journey.

My Transformation: Body and Soul

In honor of #ThrowbackThursday, I thought I would post an old photo of myself! I look at this photo from Christmas at my grandparents house a few years back, and it amazes me how different things are now. I had no confidence in myself to speak of, so I would do my hair all fancy and wear nice makeup to try to instill confidence in myself. I still do those things lol, but now it is just for fun!

For me the best part about having lost this weight is simply regaining my confidence. I love that I no longer avoid public places, and I can actually have fun. I love that I finally get to experience things that I was forcing myself to miss out on because of my weight, like swimming and tanning on the beach. I love that I finally got out of my shell and went after a dream on mine this summer! Until summer 2014 I hadn’t flown in an airplane, I hadn’t left Canada apart from going shopping in the states a couple of times, and I hadn’t travelled or explored much at all apart from the smaller cities surrounding my own. I am so proud to be able to say that I’ve now flown 6 times, I’ve had the opportunity to explore Barcelona, Paris, and London, and I’ve found a new passion that I can’t see ever going away. I NEVER would have had the confidence to do that prior to finding Beachbody and changing my life through this health and fitness journey. 

Most of all, I just love that I’m not sad and down on myself all the time anymore. I have become a much more positive person overall. I am kind of shy and awkward by nature when it comes to talking to new people in person, but I have seen a dramatic increase in my sociability since starting this journey. I’m not nearly as shy and afraid as I used to be, and it has allowed me to meet more people than I have in years. If you’re struggling with your weight and dealing with depression or isolation because it, please come and talk to me. Beachbody changed my life, and I would love nothing more than to see your life turn around for the better too. 

Send me an email to hfmxj@stu.ca with the subject “I’m ready to transform” if you’re ready to take this leap!

Quote of the day

“Choose your relationships wisely. Being alone will never cause as much loneliness as the wrong relationships. Be with people who know your worth. You don’t need lots of friends to be happy; just a few real ones who appreciate you for who you are. Oftentimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth, but because we finally realize our own worth.”

This is SO true. I never did understand the people who spend their lives getting into relationship after relationship after relationship just to avoid being alone. Personally, I would rather wait it out for the REAL thing. I want someone who loves me for me, and that is what everybody should be striving for. We all deserve to be happy, and keeping negative people around will only bring you down.

Only YOU hold the power to eliminate the people constantly spouting negativity from your life! Give the negative people in your life the boot, and focus on spending more time with the people who treat you as you deserve to be treated. If you surround yourself with positive people, you will find that you start to become a more positive person yourself. 

Click Here if you would like to take me on as your FREE coach!